Parents and teachers are voicing concerns about schools reopening, with the new academic year only weeks away. An online petition gaining traction says Indiana schools should not reopen without more strict health measures in place.
Marion County teacher Amber Seibert is part of the group telling the state not to reopen schools – unless lawmakers and local officials require more safety regulations for everyone.
She says teachers want to come back, but many are unwilling to risk their and their students' health.
"You know there are tons of people who, I can tell you, are ready to walk," she said.
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The online petition has gained more than 10,000 signatures since last week. It pushes for a statewide mask requirement in schools, and calls for lawmakers and schools to provide staff members with hazard pay, offer all staff protective and sanitizing equipment, and limit class sizes.
Seibert said without more safety precautions, schools are risking more than just physical health – she's concerned for students' mental health if a staff member dies from COVID-19.
"When a staff member dies, that is going to be awful for our kids, and we're right now saying we're willing to risk it and I think that's unacceptable," she said.
The petition also said people who have signed it refuse to return to school until their county has reported no new COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days.